ST. ALBANS — SKILLS, Inc. has expanded its community-based services offerings to include community membership, and its employment services line to include career planning.

These two new services aim to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism explore their talents and interests, become actively involved in the community, and reach their full potential. SKILLS is now accepting referrals for both programs.

“We at SKILLS are thrilled to be able to offer two new services that will help people be more involved and integrated into the daily life of the wider community. Our dedicated staff has gone above and beyond to earn the certifications required for us to offer community membership and career planning, and we all look forward to seeing the successes of the people we support,” said Kristin Overton, executive director, according to a news release from the nonprofit. “People with disabilities are, first and foremost, people, and want the same things all people do — a safe place to live, meaningful relationships, and to build connections within their communities of choice. Adding these new programs is one more way to help make this possible.”

Community membership services provide support for people to go out into their chosen community with the goal of becoming part of the community rather than living among it. People supported learn about volunteer and job opportunities, organizations they may want to join, classes they may want to take, or places where they would like to spend more time.

Support is provided one-on-one or one-on-two so that the experience can truly be tailored to an individual’s interests and skills. SKILLS employees are certified direct support professionals and have completed additional training on building relationships and community inclusion in order to offer the community membership service.

Career planning helps people with the exploratory phases of job seeking such as visiting businesses and learning about skills required for different jobs. The career planning program operates on a flexible schedule and lasts 60 hours over a six-month timeframe. It culminates with a written career plan that includes a person’s skills, interests, and other factors that lead to success and which assist in finding a meaningful job.

SKILLS’ Career Planning Program graduates are assisted with application completion and submission to vocational rehabilitation and in learning about potential work incentives.

For more information, visit or call Pam Erskine, director of program services, at 207-938-0210.


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